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San Francisco 16, Lawrence 5, Bernal 4, Sarah Stein 3, San Franciscan 2, Sarah Steen 1, Catherine Mcdonald 1, Christin Murdock 1, Joan Leffler 1, Fte 1, Roberted 1, Beening 1, Facility Located 1, Ation 1, The City 1, Catherine Michael 1, John Lewis 1, Us 1, California 1, San Franciscans 1,
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  SFGTV    [untitled]  

    December 14, 2012
    8:00 - 8:30pm PST  

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to happen. if we could take about that at one of the meetings because that is going to happen sooner or later. >> i have seen women's clothing trucks at levi plaza. >> so yes, commissioners, that is starting to be a standing agenda with the policy committee, but we have beening to doing work and staff member christin murdock is staffing the work on this and we'll proficient you with a more detailed update at the general meeting. x any other items? >> next item. >> item 15, adjournment. >> motion.
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>> second. >> all in favor? >> aye. >> commissioners the meeting is adjourned at 7:10 p.m. request for conditional use authorization >> good afternoon commissioners to allow the conversion of a two-story dwelling unit for a child-care
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facility located at 281 harvard street the project sponsor currently operates the polka dot center in bernal heights. the proposed facility would open monday-through friday, and would be operated by three full-time employees. no physical expansion of the existing building is proposed. this project was originally scheduled november 15th but knew to neighbor concerns the project was continued until today to allow the project sponsor an opportunity to work with the neighbors to address concerns. a community meeting was held november 17th. this were 30 people in attendance. some issues raised were regarding parking and traffic and the necessity and desirable of a preschool in the neighborhood and commercial uses in the neighborhood. to address parking and traffic concerns from the neighbors, staff has added a condition of
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approval that the project sponsor shall apply for a white passenger loading zone. along the 50' street frontage in front of the entrance to the facility. this loading zone would be activity during one-hour drop-off zone and one-hour pick up zone. the news is necessary use is necessary because there is a lack of services in the potrero neighborhood. the use is desirable because it will provide a prix school within walking distance of families living in the potrero neighborhood. additionally if the child-care facility moved the existing
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building could be easily converted back into a single-family dwelling. the approval of this project will in the result in the influx of commercial and retail uses in the neighborhood. and the rh-1 zoning distribute commercial and retail uses are not allowed and furthermore child-care facilities for 15 or fewer children are allowed and the condition use is only required for 15 or more children. given the finings discussed staff recommends approval of the conditional use authorize ation. thank you i am available for questions. >> project sponsor, please. >> good evening commissioners my name is sarah steen. thank you for taking your time and lending your expertise for
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this project. i am certified by the state of california and i always knew i wanted to choose a profession which was focused on making the world a better place. about five years ago my husband and my mother-in-law and myself started to search for a space to open a small preschool and we found out quickly that it wasn't going to be easy. most commercially zoned areas don't have a lot of yard. even many residential neighborhoods, many houses in san francisco just don't have appropriate yard sizes. over a year-ago we started to look at the potrero neighborhood for many reasons but one of the main reasons at preponderant we're roberted in
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bernal heights and this is the sister neighborhood. when i first walked into harvard street i could visualize the school. even our children are involved in everyday planning and we want to have a small school no more than 20 kids and a school with small teacher-children ratios which reflects san francisco values. by teaching social responsibility and justice, inclusion, green living, bean a small locally run business while providing a curriculum that prepares children academically, socially and emotional for kindergarten. commissioners it was not our in[t-ebts/] to bulldoze into the neighbor and not include our new neighbors in the process. i have never done this before and if anything i have been a bit naive in the process. i thought everyone would be happy a small mom and pop school
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-- excuse me, especially since there are so many families living there. excuse me. after i spoke with some of the neighbors i felt i had a better understanding why there were so many reservations. there was a bad experience with the halfway house and some of the community felt they had no input and there was rumors of a brothel. we heard a community meeting and provided a professional facilitator to provide an opportunity to meet face-to-face and answer questions especially many regards to parking, traffic, zoning, construction and noise. i feel confident we were able to address all of these issues
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and many of the neighbors left feeling more confident with our project. we even received two emails of support from two neighbors who live across the street and received support messages as well. we have support of the most of our direct neighbors, the two in front of us and both on either side, the right and left. our intect intent is to make the smallest impact on the neighborhood. we want to be accessible and transparent as possible to our new community. in san francisco, an estimated 20,000 children under the age of 6 or over 50% of the children in that age group require some form of child-care. in this neighborhood there are
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about 2615 children [speaker not understood] it seems like everything is accelerated and kindergarten is the new first grade. so it's important to have a great foundation of child-care education. >> you have 30 seconds. >> okay. i would like to speak to the difference between a licensed daycare facility and a licensed childhood center of preschool. many if not most home daycare providers have no social or educational programs for the children in their care. the polka dot preschool -- will be good neighbors, respectful. thank you. >> thank you, we may have questions for you.
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opening it up to public comment. i have a number of speaker cards. i will call them if you would line up on this side of the room. [ reading speakers' names ] >> hello. my name is john golden. i live across the street from the proposed facility. when i moved to the potrero neighborhood 15 years ago there were bars on the windows on many of the houses and safety was a concern. my neighbors and i have worked very hard to build a home and sense of community in the potrero district and as a matter of fact we were awarded
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come back neighbor. the thought of increased parking plus the precedent of future commercial project is not a positive consideration. owners of the polka dot school are closing down their existing business and doubling the size in their neighborhood at the expense of our community without regard to impact. 50 neighbors on the surrounding block have signed a petition or sent a letter, 50 neighbors requesting that this permit be denied. that is 90% of the area. almost all of those in favor are current residents of bernal heights neighborhood as their children attend that center. i understand the need for child-care and a family day-care center where someone lives and a better solution
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would be to keep the bernal heights location open. why much these people purchase the property? there are multiple locations available that would work with parks close by. also in the current scenario affordable housing is remove. it's doubtful that the house could easily been converted to a home once it goes to commercial and the inside is guted and commercial restrooms are installed. no new family would embrace this project. please keep our neighborhood a community. >> next speaker, please. >> good evening commissioners. thank you for the opportunity. i also am a neighbor of the 281
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hartford house? >> excuse me ma'am, could you state your name? >> joan leffler. i feel that taking this neighborhood i have been in 15 and it's an rh-1 zone neighborhood and turning it into a commercial venture is not the right thing to do. i do think this are other properties that could well accommodate a child-care center. this is a 900 or 950-square-foot house and they want to put 21 kids. i'm also a real estate agent and i think it diminishes the value of the property because if a lot of people work at home these days and you will hear a lot of kids throughout the day. i had a house recently across from the school and the first question out of everybody's mouth is what about the school? how loud is it? if it's right next to you, it's very loud and all the way around there is a
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lot of neighborhood people that are concerned. so i hope that you don't pass it. i am sure that the polka dot school is very good and i know there is a lot of room and we need a lot of great teachers and item sure they are great, but i don't think it longs belongs in the middle of a totally residential block. thank you. :good . good evening, i'm catherine mcdonald [speaker not understood]
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my house has retained its value and although there have noise coming off the mission high school football field it's generally children playing. it's not that disruptive. it's much less disruptive than the people walking down the front of the tv street. as the mother of two children who had the fortune of being educated by sarah at the catherine michael school and polka dot she is an incredible mix of caring and nurturing, mentoring to her children.
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she was clear, respect the neighbors, be mindful that people live here and we always were. so although i understand the neighbors' concerns, i believe that the public interest here is served by adding a school to a community that is underserved by schools and furthering san francisco's stated goal of developing the resources for families. encouraging families like mine to stay in san francisco. it's a difficult job that you have. but i am an administrative law judge across the street and i understand that there are times that we have to make decisions that serve the public interest and ask the owners of businesses to mitigate any negative impacts.
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sarah and lawrence are people of integrity who will do that. thank you. >> thank you. >> good evening. my name is michelle long. thank you for allowing me to speak and i'm sorry for the late evening. i am a third generation native san franciscan. as a native, i have seen our great city go through many changes and i know how difficult it to be people to see change ms. their neighbors. i am here to support polka dot, to make sure that changes are good for our community as a whole. my son graduated from polka dot and was very prepared when he entered school.
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my son is fourth-generation san franciscan. while growing up in the city with a working mom i was brought to our next door neighbor's house for home daycare. it was a wonderful experience for me to be close to home, in my neighborhood and run by a caring person who had kids of her own. it was also affordable. i know this many concerns have been expressed by neighbors and i'm glad that people have the forum to express their concerns. they are a strictly
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neighborhood residential street. their current location is small and on a really narrow street. and parking even there was never an issue. the school and parents are very respectful of people's driveways. traffic use -- typically they don't come at one time and the white zone would accommodate. i want to talk about the personal characters of sarah and lawrence. my son had sarah and lawrence as teachers. they offer a wonderful and loving alternative to child-care. it's difficult for working
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parents to find good child care and at a time when working familis are booing pushed out of our city, we need to look at this and take notice of a good quality educational environment. thank you. i think they will be a benefit to the neighborhood. thank you. >> i'm going to call three more cards. [ reading speakers' names ] >> i am here to urge support of the polka dot school. i have known sarah stein for several years. that is where i saw firsthand the talent that sarah stein embodis and how she works with
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her children and the challenge of really wanting to learn really thrives. we followed sarah to polka dot preschool and my younger son attended throughout his years there, who just started kindergarten. and i attribute fully to sarah stein and polka dot that they were both ready for kindergarten and thriving within an immersion program within the san francisco unified school district. it was lawrence and sarah that created that foundation for wanting to learn. i recognize there are concerns from the neighbors in potrero on harvard street. we have heard directly from the concerns through the community meeting around traffic, noise and parking. i think from the testimony you have already heard tonight sarah and lawrence take this very seriously. they are planners and as you saw from your planning packet, they have a plan to mitigate and be able to be a good
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neighbor in the potrero neighborhood. issues raised by michelle and cat, an additional consideration for the commission is what is state of children and families in san francisco? with only 13% of children in san francisco -- it's one of the smallest populations across the country. what kind of message are we sending for children and families who want to stay in san francisco and raise -- to be able to stay for generations? i am really proud of the san franciscans investing in public housing, which has passed around our parks, building infrastructure and to me another key fabric to that is children. in closing building a school isn't only a dream for sarah stein, but a dream for families to live and thrive in san
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francisco. thank you. >> thank you. >> good evening commissioners, my name is john lewis. and i live on harvard street a few doors away from the site where applicants seek to relocate their business. i want to emphasize to the commission how much neighbors wish the applicant's business remain where it is now or relocate to a neighborhood more intended for commercial purposes. by my count of neighbors who contacted the planning commission, 49 neighbors did not support it. only 5 neighbors supported. these 47 people are diverse, some are young with children,
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some middle-aged, some are elderly. some have lived in the neighborhood for decades and others have moved to the neighborhood more recently, because they sought a quiet neighborhood. i was particularly struck by the letter of noel loxson on behalf of his elderly montgomery mother, who lives right next door to the subject property. he writes on her behalf, i she has lived there for more than 30 years and at her age she likes the quietness of the neighborhood. by having a child-care next door. and gordon lieu writes, "it's always been a nice peaceful neighborhood and putting in the daycare would really change the make-up of the area." adding 40 car trips perat per day and many neighbors are
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concerned once this conditional use is granted others would be granted and changing the character of the neighborhood even more. we really wanted to stay in san francisco. but we had few choices, because of how expensive the city is. we didn't want the noise. the traffic, the parking problems, that come with so many san francisco neighborhoods. so we looked around and we were thrilled when we found the university mound neighborhood. and we're particularly happy when we found this very quiet block on harvard street with no commercial activity of any sort nearby. and very life traffic. the code mandate that the commission preserve our neighborhoods in san francisco. so that we have the diversity
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and can offer our citizens affordable, quiet residential streets too, so that they can stay in san francisco, the city that we all love. thank you. >> next speaker, please. >> good evening. my name is stewart gaffney and i live a few houses from the site where the applicants seek to relocate their business. i want to address several points about the application. they want to relocate their business and please note that the proposal did not provide a necessary service to our neighborhood as it moves an existing facility with existing students and existing wait list from coming a different neighborhood and not serving our own. i understand that their current center has 17 and the relocation would add only 6-8
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openings for those who may be on their existing wait list, but would come at the cost of disrupting a neighborhood whose residents like the elderly retiree next door to the property truly value its quiet residential character and at the cost of losing a use of a vintage house. the relocation results in the addition of only .5 fte, the existing staff of the school would simply remain with one employee moving from part-time to full-time. no new jobs created for our neighborhood. with respect to the need for additional child-care in our neighborhood, we contacted the children's council of san francisco, a very respected third party referral organization, whose database
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included 70% of san francisco's child-care facilities and they informed us that their 95 facilities with at least one actual opening for children 2-5 years old within our zip codes and many openings include family child-care centers just like the applicant's preschool. i would urge the commission of what they offer. many providing bilingual services as working capital. we appreciate the applicant's offer to give them their cell phone numbers for blocking sidewalks and driveways and double parking, but blocking sidewalks and driveways and double parking is unlawful. such an offer doesn't fully address neighborhood concerns regarding the issuance of a conditional use permit that is permanent for any future owner.
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for example, in addition, the findings say there are no exterior modifications to the building, but, in fact, the applicants propose to move the front door of an historic 1905 pre-earthquake home. it's worth noting that the proponents who speak in favor are from outside of this neighborhood and those speaking in opposition are from the immediate neighborhood. for all of these reasons, i am respectfully asking the commission to deny this application. thank you very much. >> thank you, next speaker, please. >> hi my name is tommy goygos and raised my family and had no problem finding child-care for my children. i have a complaint for sarah which was cleared and i have her deed of trust. when she purcha

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